Jaime Westenbarger

President and CEO

Jaime Westenbarger

Jaime Westenbarger

When Jaime Westenbarger bought his first stock while still in High School, he was unaware the large influence that the purchase would have on his future. Always interested in finance and economics, Jaime enrolled at The University of Michigan shortly after completing his service to our country in the United States Marine Corps. In 1999, he officially entered the financial services industry and worked in a number of capacities including but not limited to managing a team of financial advisors until he decided in 2006 it was time to build his own company, Forest Hills Financial. Although the entrepreneurial spirit was partially responsible for the endeavor, it was also driven by his desire to create a company he would want to be a client of. His concern lied in the belief that the financial industry was focused more on sales goals than in truly helping the client, resulted in the founding Forest Hills Financial, Inc. in 2006.


Perspective

 

Since starting Forest Hills Financial in a small one person office in 2006, Jaime Westenbarger has made his mission to turn the financial world on its head. Through his nationally syndicated radio show, The Keeping Your Money Show, he has helped thousands of people filter through the salespeople of the financial services world and focus on the information that actually matters. Jaime’s style of simple explanations of complex problems helped grow his business in only seven years to include clients in 15 states, advisors in four offices, and The Keeping Your Money Show continuing to grow its listening audience. Forest Hills Financial was able to grow revenue over 300% during one of the most devastating recessions in recent memory. Additionally the company continues to develop in size and influence in the financial community on a local, state and even national level. Recently honored with speaking to entrepreneurs at an event hosted by Steve Forbes and authoring a chapter in Mr. Forbes latest book Successonomics, the reach of Jaime’s message continues to grow across the country.

 

Personal

 

Jaime resides with his amazing wife, Hillary and their two children in the Forest Hills community of Grand Rapids, Michigan
In the U.S., 10,000 baby boomers reach retirement age everyday. These statistics beg the question: If you are nearing retirement age, how ready are you, psychologically and even more importantly, financially for this life event? Every individual will have different needs and desires for their retirement years. No matter what those are and how they differ, the more clearly you envision your future during retirement and plan before hand to be as prepared as possible, the more you’ll enjoy this phase of your life. Some of the topics that need to be visited as you get closer to retirement include deciding how you’re going to spend your time and how much money you’ll spend each month. You want to take into consideration gifts, vacations, taxes, and emergencies among others. The cost of health care is a biggie to consider, without an employer no longer paying part or all of your medical...
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You may think that breaking up with your financial advisor is a crazy idea, but believe me it’s not as off-kilter as you think. Especially, if you’re like many people who hire a financial advisor then never revisit the decision you made until it’s time to retire. Or maybe you inherited your financial advisor due to a death or other life situation and have just left the investments in their care. Inertia is one of the most difficult forces to overcome.  While your financial advisor may have had your best interest in mind when you first hired them, they may not actively monitor your account to keep pace with the economy and with investment vehicles that may serve you better as your life and circumstances change. If you inherited the advisor, you may find that the person you inherited them from had not looked into their investments in some time.  In...
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While breaking up with your financial advisor may not have all the legal complications of ending a marriage, it can be an agonizing decision to make. Especially if you’ve been in a long-term relationship with your financial advisor and you’ve discovered he or she has not really had your best interests at heart. According to a recent survey by Spectrem Group, 4 to 6% of U.S. investors change financial advisors in any given year. A variety of reasons are attributed to the ending of these relationships. High on the list are major life events such as death, divorce or inheritance, as well as lack of communication and frustration with complex or hidden fees. If you inherited your financial advisor, the good news is you can now shop around for your very own. Finding a financial advisor you trust may take more time than you’d like and there is a lot of...
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Are you aware of how 401k plans came into existence? Most people are not. The fact is they came about by accident when a benefits consultant read a sentence in the government’s Revenue Act of 1978 regarding deferred compensation. This astute consultant took it upon himself to inquire whether the statement would apply to all compensation. When the answer was in the affirmative, the 401k Retirement Savings Plan was born. In 1985, there were a mere 30,000 401k plans. By 2013 that number had soared to 638,000 plans with 89 million plan participants. The 401k Plan is without question the most popular vehicle for retirement savings. Recently a wave of 401k related lawsuits have been filed against companies for a variety of issues, which may mean the 401k may not be the best place for your money. These suits have made their way all the way to the Supreme Court. Mismanagement,...
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401K Plans have traditionally been used as incentives to lure and keep employees. They have become increasingly popular with large corporations as well as small, to mid-size businesses. However, the Supreme Court is looking more closely at corporate 401K plans. The end result could be more profitable for the participating employees and a potential sticking point for employers. The reason the Supreme Court is looking into two separate cases regarding 401K plans is to determine the responsibility employers have to provide good plans. For instance, there are many different share classes, some of which are far too expensive and may not offer employees the most beneficial return on their investment. Most employers, once they’ve signed off on a company 401k plan, will rarely, if ever review that plan again. Even though the economy goes through its ups and downs, no one is monitoring the 401k to determine whether or not it...
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In 2013 I decided to start looking for ways that Forest Hills Financial could be more involved in a local organization.  One that could speak to all of my advisors, employees, and clients.  I knew that we were all individually working with and supporting, both financially and through volunteerism, multiple charities.  I wondered...how much of an impact could we make if we started to change our focus and commit to collectively supporting one charity? By late 2013, we decided that for 2014 and beyond that charity would be Kids’ Food Basket.  Kids’ Food Basket has the accessibility I envisioned for my advisors, employees, and clients. They can all be hands on. Kids' Food Basket offers numerous outlets to get involved in, from volunteering time, packing Sack Suppers, bringing a Wish List food item to a client event, or giving a monetary amount if they choose.  The involvement with Kids' Food Basket...
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Chances are if you have been investing for any amount of time you have learned that a proper asset allocation has a percentage of Bonds and a percentage of stocks.  It may also include something loosely called Alternatives.  When people hear the words “Alternative Investments”, they have a knee jerk reaction based on a dated idea of what they entail.  You may think of the commercials on Satellite radio or late night TV promoting metals or owning your own gas well and think to yourself, “No thanks”.  Recent research shows that by doing so you may be selling yourself and your portfolio short. The 2013 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments found when they gathered info from 835 US colleges and Universities that many of these stalwarts of investment conservatism were heavily invested in Alternatives.  With an average return of 11.7% in 2013 no one would accuse them of being overly aggressive as...
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